Andy Divine, Heretic Hunter: Queer Atheist comments

In the Catholic Tradition the search for heretics dates from its beginning.  The reader could profitably start her inquiry with James J. O’Donnell’s Augustine: A New Biography that provides a record of his campaigns against sects that he identified as heretical:  Donatism, Manicheanism, Pelagianism. Note that Augustine was a follower of Manicheanism for nine years. Augustine lived from 354 AD to 430 A.D. and came of age after the First Council of Nicaea that is dated at 325 AD.

Andy Divine, as a devout Catholic, is steeped in that tradition of exposing these heretical sects. He transmogrifies that Tradition via his expression of  ire and contempt for political deviants, that exist in his over heated imagination. In this episode of his blog he features “Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender and Identity,” by  James Lindsay and Helen Pluckrose. The allusion to ‘Critical Theory’ is glaringly obvious.  

What is truly astounding about this paragraph is the ‘Critical Theory’ as advocated by Horkheimer and Adorno and ‘Post-Modernism’ are antithetical!  

What the book helps the layperson to understand is the evolution of postmodern thought since the 1960s until it became the doctrine of Social Justice today. Beginning as a critique of all grand theories of meaning—from Christianity to Marxism—postmodernism is a project to subvert the intellectual foundations of western culture. The entire concept of reason—whether the Enlightenment version or  even the ancient Socratic understanding—is a myth designed to serve the interests of those in power, and therefore deserves to be undermined and “problematized’ reason whenever possible. Postmodern theory does so mischievously and irreverently—even as it leaves nothing in reason’s place. The idea of objective truth—even if it is viewed as always somewhat beyond our reach—is abandoned. All we have are narratives, stories, whose meaning is entirely provisional, and can in turn be subverted or problematized.

This abstract, and two page preview, points to this disingenuous attempt at the amalgamation of the utterly antithetical: 

During the 1980s Jürgen Habermas and other theorists associated with the critical theory of the Frankfurt School emerged as key critics of postmodern theory.1 Habermas carried out polemics against Derrida, Foucault, and postmodern theory, while his associates polemicized against Lyotard (Honneth 1985; Benhabib 1984), Foucault (Honneth 1986), Derrida (McCarthy 1989), and other postmodern theorists. The polemics have often obscured some interesting similarities, in addition to important differences, between the postmodern theories and critical theory. Both critical theory and much postmodern theory agree in important ways in their critiques of traditional philosophy and social theory. Both attack the academic division of labour which establishes fixed boundaries between regions of social reality, and both utilize supradisciplinary discourses. Both carry out sharp critiques of modernity and its forms of social domination and rationalization. Both combine social theory, philosophy, cultural critique, and political concerns in their theories and, unlike more academic theories, some versions of both attempt to orient theory toward practice, and discourse toward politics. Both critical and post-modern theory have engaged in heated polemics against each other, and have been synthesized with feminist theory.

Andy Divine is first, as always, disingenuous, not to speak of intellectually lazy, but his strategy is self-serving, presenting himself as not just a writer, but a ‘pundit’. His  polemic, against the degrading of political/intellectual standards, is exemplary of his failure to meet anything other than the imperatives of propaganda.

Queer Atheist 






About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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